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Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage

The evening included an informal talk, a reading from the book, and a question-and-answer facilitated by playwright, director, and puppetry artist Nehprii Amenii.

Recently author and theatrical designer Joshua Langman celebrated the publication of his book Standby: An Approach to Theatrical Design with a release party at The Players, a historic private theatre club in Gramercy Park.

The evening included an informal talk, a reading from the book, and a question-and-answer period. It was facilitated by playwright, director, and puppetry artist Nehprii Amenii, artistic director of Khunum Productions and a long-time collaborator of Langman's. It was hosted by Player Paul Valle and his wife, Jan Valle, a professor in the educational theatre graduate program at City College. Attendees included playwrights, directors, actors, producers, designers, theatre educators, and theatre enthusiasts.

Standby: An Approach to Theatrical Design, published on May 18 by Southern Illinois University Press, proposes a practical philosophy of contemporary theatrical design that addresses all design disciplines, all theatrical collaborators, and all forms of theatre, from the traditional to the avant-garde.

Beginning with the proposition that design contributes essential layers of meaning to an experience, Standby argues for a unique approach centered on the creation of revelatory theatrical moments. In a mission to illuminate the soul of the craft, Langman investigates the purposes of design, details the elements of a production concept, uncovers the mechanics of creating meaning, explores the relationship of theatrical design to fine art and art history, and offers practical guidance on designing productions. Blending scholarship and storytelling, personal experience and contrarian wisdom, "Standby" challenges theatre-makers to harness the rich dramatic potential of theatrical design.

The Standby release party was held in the library at The Players, a space designed by Stanford White to house Edwin Booth's theatre collection; it currently contains a portion of the holdings of the Hampden-Booth Theatre Library, one of the largest collections in the world devoted to theatre history.

Facilitator Nehprii Amenii spoke about her earliest collaboration with Langman, on her immersive play Food for the Gods, which premiered in 2013. Langman described the impetus for writing Standby as the need for a holistic conceptual theory for the field of theatrical design. He spoke about the power of design as a vehicle for making meaning and read an excerpt from Standby that highlights the role of the designer as a sculptor of resonant moments. Audience members responded to the reading with questions, sparking an engaging discussion on the process of writing Standby, the value of play in theatre and society, and the status of theatrical design during the pandemic.

Housed in a Gilded Age mansion in Manhattan's Gramercy Park, The Players is a membership club for performing, literary, and visual artists and arts patrons. Founded by legendary Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth in 1888, the club has been a spiritual home to generations of theatrical luminaries. Now in its 134th season, The Players celebrates the rich cultural life of New York City with exclusive member-only events that include live performances, readings by leading authors and playwrights, film screenings, and dining in its famous Grill room.

For more information on Standby: An Approach to Theatrical Design, see www.standbybook.com. Langman may be heard discussing the genesis of the book in a recent segment on NPR.

For more information on The Players, see www.theplayersnyc.org.

Photos by Alec Kubas-Meyer.

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Joshua Langman

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Nehprii Amenii

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Set-up for the book release party at The Players.

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Guests mingle in the Players' library.

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Joshua Langman, Taylor A. Purdee, Carly Jordan.

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Paul Valle

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Guests listen to Langman read from Standby in the historic Players' library.

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Joshua Langman.

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Guests converse.

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Joshua Langman and Nehprii Amenii

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Joshua Langman and Sharon Holiner

Photos: Book Release Party Celebrates New Philosophy Of Design For The Stage
Copies of Standby: An Approach to Theatrical Design for purchase.



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